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Wednesday, September 27, 2023

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California is projected to experience a shortfall of 100,000 nurses in 10 years. California is projected to experience a shortfall of 100,000 nurses in 10 years.

Nursing, Physical Therapy Doctoral Programs in Pipeline

The CSU Board of Trustees will consider planning of new independent doctoral programs at SDSU.

San Diego State University is one of three California State Universities that may begin planning its Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). The planning phase was approved by the CSU Board of Trustees at their meeting on Jan. 26.   

SDSU is also one of five CSUs that will be allowed to begin planning a Doctor of Physical Therapy pilot program. Both pilot programs could launch as early as fall 2012.

The programs will be offered through SDSU’s College of Health and Human Services. San Diego State’s DNP program will be the only stand-alone program among the three proposed CSU programs and, when approved, SDSU would have the only DPT program in the San Diego region.  

Preparing nursing educators

Due to California's pressing need for nursing faculty, the state adopted AB 867 (2010) that allowed the CSU to offer an independent DNP. The U.S. Bureau of Health Professionals projects California will have a shortfall of more than 100,000 nurses in 10 years. A key challenge to closing this projected shortfall has been a limited number of slots available in California nursing programs, which is tied to a limited number of individuals qualified to serve as nursing faculty.

The CSU already awards 60 percent of undergraduate nursing degrees in California, and has several excellent master's degree-level programs. SDSU’s School of Nursing offers four concentrations in its master’s of science degree in nursing, including:

  • Community health nursing
  • Advanced practice nursing of adults and the elderly
  • Nursing education
  • Nursing leadership in healthcare systems

SDSU to have stand-alone program

"The DNP represents the extent to which California's health — economically and medically — is directly tied to the education provided to CSU students," said CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed. "By offering top quality and affordable degree programs, the CSU will help build the pipeline to fill the ranks of nursing faculty."

In addition to San Diego State’s stand-alone DNP program, joint programs will be offered by multiple CSU campuses, including:

  • CSU Fresno
  • San José State University
  • CSU Fullerton
  • CSU Long Beach
  • CSU Los Angeles

The DNP will build on the CSU faculty expertise and campus resources based in existing nursing departments.

Each DNP program is subject to the chancellor’s approval and determination of need and feasibility, and must demonstrate that qualified faculty, financial support, facilities and information resources are sufficient to establish and maintain the programs. Prior to chancellor approval, programs will seek professional and regional accreditation, as well as the recommendation of the California Postsecondary Education Commission.

Training advanced practitioners in physical therapy

The CSU Board of Trustees also approved campuses to begin planning a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree orogram consistent with state law, AB 2382 (2010). San Diego State, along with the CSU campuses at Fresno, Long Beach, Northridge and Sacramento, can now develop proposals for programs to launch as early as summer 2012.  

When launched, SDSU would have the only DPT program in San Diego. The university already offers a pre-physical therapy concentration in its School of Exercise and Nutritional Sciences.

With the doctoral programs, the CSU will be able to continue educating physical therapists to meet the state licensure requirements. The CSU currently educates one-third of the state's physical therapy graduates. 

Educating these health professionals is critical in a high-growth field such as physical therapy. In fact, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 30-percent growth in demand for physical therapists by 2018, as compared to 2008.

As with the DNP, each DPT program is also subject to the chancellor’s approval and must meet the same support, resource and accreditation criteria.